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Old November 9 2011, 12:20 PM   #24
7thsealord's Avatar
Location: Australia
Re: OTHER Starship Captains - Symbolism, Foreshadowing & Plot Devices

Captain Tracy wrote: View Post
Lesbian Vulcan Starship Captains in Go-go boots on the Bridge
Totally works for me.

Captain Tracy wrote: View Post
You know it is also interesting what you are saying about Pearl Harbor, as I have heard a 'theory' that the US GOVERNMENT knew about the impending attack, and that is why all those ships were there,.. however the 'theory' goes something along the lines that they let this go down the way it did, to set up a "He hit me first" scenario in the public eye, yet fully intending to engage in the war, but letting the Japanese provide the excuse.
The Pearl Harbour Conspiracy Theory has always been popular in certain quarters but, for anyone with a clue, it is ... well, consider.

The theory is that FDR was so desperate to drag the USA into ww2 that he deliberately "sacrificed" the US Pacific Fleet to the Japanese, in order to provoke national outrage. After all, he had already sent a few small US ships "into harms way" in the North Atlantic, causing several incidents with Nazi Germany. There are also the warnings that the USA ignored from just about everybody imaginable. The 'Pearl Harbour Conspiracy Theory' seems plausible, until the facts are considered.

First, FDR's main priority was always the defeat of Nazi Germany. They and Imperial Japan were technically allies, but war with one did not guarantee involvement of the other (as evidenced when Germany kicked things off in 1939). In fact, Germany's declaration of war upon the US, made in the immediate aftermath of Pearl Harbour, came as a shock to many on BOTH sides.

Secondly, a common misconception seems to be that Pearl Harbour was the only thing Japan did to enter ww2. Wrong! Japanese forces went on the move all over South-East Asia and the Pacific. Attacks were made on the British Commonwealth (Hong Kong, Malaya, Borneo, and numerous islands), on the US-held Philippines, and on US-administered islands such as the Marshalls, Guam, and Wake. Any one of these constituted an act of war and, given Japan's numerous atrocities in China, war would have been hard to avoid.

Thirdly, that all the warnings about an impending attack came to naught is strange, I accept. But, is it truly THAT strange? The warnings filtered through several different US government departments, most of which barely knew each other existed and seldom exchanged data in any case. FBI boss J Edgar Hoover was the recipient of at least one direct warning from the British, but chose to see it as a personal insult rather than take any action.

Many in the West genuinely believed that the typical Japanese soldier was five foot tall, severely near-sighted, afraid of the dark, lacked combat ability, and used inferior ships and planes. General Douglas Macarthur talked of "setting the bamboo cities of Japan ablaze" with the (twelve) B-17 bombers he had in the Philippines. Hardly the mindsets to take warnings of a Japanese attack seriously.

So, the main allegation is that FDR sacrificed a fleet of obsolescent battleships (plus crews), but took special care to move the essential aircraft carriers out of danger. This notion totally ignores the strategic naval thinking of the time. Staunch carrier advocates existed on both sides, but most were relatively junior and all were regarded as at least slightly loony. The top brass in the RN, the USN, and the IJN still regarded battleships as all-important - and aircraft carriers as a very experimental adjunct to the hallowed Line Of Battle. This was despite the notable early successes of the Royal Navy's Fleet Air Arm (at Taranto and versus the Bismarck) - noting also that Taranto was the inspiration for the Pearl Harbour attack.

Understand that the Pearl Harbour attack was seen by the Japanese as a major gamble, and the final results a "best case scenario". True, Kido Butai (the Japanese carrier force) could have done better by following up and destroying port facilities and/or a US carrier or two. But such a move would have greatly compounded the risk of counterattack from US forces. Given the initial (and seemingly overwhelming) success, and that the fleet was at the very limits of its logistical support, Admiral Nagumo (rightly or wrongly) chose discretion by ordering the withdrawal as originally planned.

They had sunk / crippled the USN's entire Pacific battleship force. Major Win. Couldn't find the carriers? Annoying, but maybe next time. After all, those Yankee carriers had no battleships to protect them from now on.

That any semi-competent leader would begin a war by throwing away his primary means of attack and defence, just to satisfy a vague need to claim provocation, is simply insane. Whatever his faults, FDR was a very shrewd and pragmatic man. If he suspected that the Japanese were about to attack Hawaii, then I have no doubt that the US would have been ready and waiting for them.

Last edited by 7thsealord; November 9 2011 at 12:56 PM.
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